313 Following

Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Currently reading

Gotham Academy Vol. 1
Brendan Fletcher, Karl Kerschel, Becky Cloonan
Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life
Kim Addonizio
The Sin Eater's Daughter
Melinda Salisbury
The Invisible Library
Genevieve Cogman
A Bandit's Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket
Deborah Hopkinson
The Ring and The Crown
Melissa de la Cruz

How to Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life by Jeffrey Marsh

How to Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life - Jeffrey  Marsh

My previous experiences with self-help books have been fairly terrible. Each time someone would come to me and put a book in my hand, while uttering the words "This book is going to change your life!", I've found the contents to be overly preachy. They've always had this miasma of insincerity hanging over them. Which is why, odd as it may sound, I decided to accept a copy of How to Be You for review. I wanted to try again, now that I'm a bit older. I wanted to see if there was a book out there that could change my mind. I owe huge, squishy hugs to Jeffrey Marsh for doing just that.


Marsh's tone is perfectly sincere, the entire length of this book. There's no judgement, and no "THIS IS THE WAY YOU BECOME HAPPY!" being thrown about on the pages. It's more an invitation to take a deep, introspective look at who you are as a person. This book engages the reader with stories from Marsh's own life, little snippets of wonderful hero/ine stories, and prompts to help build self-trust and self-acceptance. The tone is kept light, but it's the honesty here that really made me smile. It's even a bit silly at times, which really helped seal this as something that I wanted to experience. Marsh expresses over and over that being you should be fun! I don't think I'd ever really stopped to think about life that way before I read this book.


The chapter on expressing emotions particularly hit home for me. I love how this isn't for a particular age group, or ethnicity, or lifestyle choice, or anything of that nature. It's a journey for everyone. The chapter on expressing emotion shows this in brilliant color. Everyone feels emotions, sure. Reading through this portion really showed me that we don't stop to think about what those are, really. Or how to deal with them. Or how we don't deal with them. I've been on a personal mission to learn how to better express my own emotions, so it felt good to see printed on the page the fact that it's okay admit when you're feeling anything. Sadness, anger, all the "bad" emotions, are just as important to experience as the good. I needed that validation, and I didn't even know it.


Look, I'm being completely honest with you when I say that my favorite part of this book is just the idea that life is fluid. That's been a lesson that I've learned the hard way, through many a mistake and many an attempt to control the uncontrollable. I wish someone had handed me this book when I was at my darkest moment and just smiled, sat beside me, and let me read through it. Reading it now still helped immensely, and this is something I'll keep close for many more readthroughs, but also something I plan to go and put gently into other reader's hands. Self-care, self-acceptance, self-worth, are all important things that we forget to acknowledge. Marsh has written a beautiful book that reminds us to look inside, and enjoy the crazy, wonderful life we've been given.

Halloween Swap?

Would anyone be interested in doing a Halloween box swap? I used to host them all the time through my blog, and then through the book club, but this year I'd much rather swap with all of you if anyone is interested.


I know we have people from all over the world on here, so depending on who signs up maybe we can try to keep it local? I don't mind shipping internationally, but I know that's not the case for many people.


Here's a link to the general guidelines that I keep on my blog:



Also here are some pictures of boxes I've either sent, or gotten, plus one I stole from Tina because I know she won't mind :).


If there's a good amount of people who want to play, I'll make a group for it on here. 




Jonesy #1

Jonesy #1 - Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle

Not 100% sure how I feel about this one, but it's the first issue so I'm more than willing to keep it going and see how it all pans out! Here are some notes of what I liked, and didn't like.


* Liked: POC main character! Which we all know is slowly (very slowly) starting to pop up more and more. I think it's completely awesome.


* Liked: Diversity of other characters! Jonesy's school is diverse as hell, and not only just regarding ethnicity. These kids are crazy unique. Piercings, cool hair colors, fun styles, it's all fair game.


* Liked: Ferret love! Jonesy owns a pet ferret and... it's adorable. ADORABLE.


* On the fence: The art style. It's... different. It kind of fits with this story so far, so I'm wavering. It might grow on me.


* Didn't like: Heaping helpings of sarcasm, and a bit too much fun poking. It's clear that Jonesy doesn't have a filter, and I'm okay with that. But her character felt like it was trying too hard to be a "particular kind of teenager", namely the kind with a bad attitude. Let's see if she grows, I guess.

Genesis by Matt K. Turner

GENESIS - Matt K. Turner

With good looks, charisma, and plenty of wealth to spare, Aiden Markusson definitely seems to be leading a charmed existence. When he's first introduced to the reader, there's no doubt that Aiden is just an abnormally lucky guy. That is, until the "complications" begin. Terrible headaches are normal, but headaches accompanied by sensory distortion and freakish strength? Maybe not so normal. So begins Aiden's descent into a world filled with mercenaries, bio-mechanical beings, and more danger than he ever thought possible.


Massive kudos to Turner for setting Aiden up as such a richly drawn human being at the beginning of this story. His kindness, doubts, and deep love for his fiance wove together a man who that was impossible to ignore and easy to like. I enjoyed the fact that Aiden was more than just a rich mogul. He had a heart, and soul. Which made it that much more emotional to watch him slowly discover his true nature. It would have been easy to skim right over that, but Turner didn't settle.


Honestly, that's true of the majority of this book. Every chance to skim over something key, Turner ignored. Aiden's insanely accurate assessment of situations meant that most scenes that were described in crisp detail. For the most part this was absolutely wonderful. Especially when it came to epic fight scenes! The downside was that our darling Aiden also got a bit introspective quite often. Being in his head wasn't easy, and when he mulled over the same problem for a few paragraphs, it got to be a little much at times.


I can, however, attest to the fact that Genesis is a beautifully accessible Science Fiction book. The drawn out descriptions are one of the reasons why that's so true. There were no dense scientific explanations. Instead, the reader was treated to a front row seat as Aiden discovered how his body worked. The whole book takes an action based approach to all explanations. I supposed you'd describe as learning, but with high stakes involved. That, in my opinion, was exactly what made this book such a compulsive read.


About half way through is when this book really starts to shine. The twists come one after another, each one perfectly placed and hitting like a punch to the gut. After being so hooked on Aiden as a character, and invested in his survival, this was where I found myself reading breathlessly. The latter half of this book reads much like an action movie, except without the terrible dialogue. Every move that Aiden made, each one of his adversaries introduced, every motivation described, all of it was lush and well-written. Turner does an excellent job of creating realistic characters, while still staying firmly in the world of bio-mechanical madness that he's created. It's a thing of beauty.


So, final verdict? If you're a fan of Science Fiction, particularly with an action fueled twist, this will be a book that you'll greatly enjoy. Despite any small qualms I may have had, overall this was a wonderful read. I'd definitely give this a space on your reading list!

Halloween Bingo: The Reveal


It's time to reveal our new bingo card!



Over the next 13 days, Obsidian and I will be posting some of our favorite books to fit under some of the categories.


Rules of the Game


  1. Have fun!
  2. The categories that are marked with an image are intended to be a bit of a free-for-all, so use your imagination in filling them! A cover image, the word within the title or text, or some sort of an allusion that only makes sense to you is fine - let us know how the book fits!
  3. There is a buddy read/read-along category. In a follow-up post, I'll be announcing a read-along that OB & I have planned for the month of October and participating in that will fill this category. In the alternative, Murder By Death has already announced an Ammie Come Home buddy read, which will start on September 1. And if you have a different idea, feel free to throw it out there!
  4. The center square is free, as always!


If you have questions or comments, post them below!


Reblogged from Moonlight Murder
"There's so much happening, so much going on, so many people crowding into the streets and buildings and schools of every town in America. I think about it all the time, how many people there are, how there can't possibly be room on this earth for all that love and confusion and longing and fury. Where are you supposed to put all that? Where's it going to fit?"
The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

-- The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs

Under A Million Stars by Rita Branches

Under a Million Stars - Rita Branches
Can we please all just take a minute to gush over the stunning cover that envelops Under A Million Stars? I can't deny that I had a massive case of cover lust when I first set eyes upon it. What really caught my eye though was that this was a story about friends who had grown apart. About a secret, something so massive, that it tore what was supposed to be a forever friendship into two halves. I'm definitely addicted to these kinds of stories. I always find myself eagerly awaiting the fix, and the happily ever after.
I should start with the fact that both Charlotte and Jacob aren't the easiest characters to love, especially at first. They grew on me as I read though, so definitely don't give up too quickly. Charlotte is a talented pianist, who has recently lost her family in a car accident. As such, she's about as withdrawn and self pitying as you might expect. It's hard not to grant her a bit of slack, since she's just had her whole world turned upside down. Jacob, on the other hand, was a lot harder to forgive for the first half of the book. As Charlotte's former best friend, you'd expect that he'd be the one to be there for her in her time of need. Instead, he spends a good portion of beginning of this story treating her like dirt. It was maddening. I knew that it was building up to something else, but it didn't make me like Jacob any more. In fact, it took me until the last quarter of the book to even enjoy his character.
In all fairness to the plot though, which is rather interesting, that kind of tension needed to be built. Although I wish it had been done a bit more organically, it was wonderful to slowly uncover why these two had fallen so far apart. I saw a girl who was struggling with finding her place in a world that didn't contain her family. I saw a boy who didn't know who he was without his best friend, but didn't know how to put all of that back together. In truth, you could actually see the ice between these two slowly start to melt and that, above all else, was what endeared me to them. I'm a sucker for repaired relationships, especially when they're so important to both parties.
There were definitely a lot of scenes in this book that had me tearing up. It deals a lot with depression, with guilt over the loss of family members, and with the secrets that families manage to keep from one another. I was also giddy over the fact that Jacob didn't once allow Charlotte to do anything she'd regret, while she was depressed. Let's be honest, chivalrous guys like that are few and far between in books. That's always a win for me.
So, final verdict? I'd say that this book will probably genuinely appeal to fans of contemporary fiction that is full of emotional turmoil. I had a little trouble sinking in at first, but by the mid point I was more than happy to continue on. I'd give Under A Million Stars a solid three star rating.


Last one, I promise :). But look at that FACE.

Just some Luna for all of you.


She's only allowed on the bed on weekend mornings, so she takes full advantage of it. This cuteness act is to make sure that I won't get out of bed too soon, and therefore kick her out too. LOL.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

Pardon me while I fan myself, because this book is sizzling! How to describe The Hating Game? It's fun, it's hilarious, and it's full of the type of sexual tension that makes the pages smolder. Insta-love and I have never been friends. Give me a struggle, and an awkward love story though, and I'm yours forever. Sally Throne has written my absolute favorite type of story right here. The one where supposed hate turns to steamy love, and the whole ride is just too enjoyable for words.

First off, Lucy is absolutely adorable. At a toppling 5 feet tall, Lucy is just a ball of gawky and lovable energy. She's the type of character that has no problem making people adore her, but unfortunately craves that attention. Which means she gets stepped all over a fair amount of the time. That just endeared her to me all the more though. I could see the lioness within, and I was so rooting for her. Enter Joshua, her nemesis, and the exact yin to her yang. Joshua is perfectly polished. He's proper, and cold. He's the type of character that people actually fear disappointing. So what happens when you put these two in close quarters? So much. So, so much.

The banter was my absolute favorite portion of this whole book. Watching Lucy and Josh banter, watching the delicious sexual tension slowly unfurl between them, was just wonderful. This whole book is a slow burn. It has perfectly paced romantic moments, interspersed with struggles, to make this a much deeper book than I expected. Lucy and Josh don't just get one another.  They have to fight. They argue. They're petty. At the end of the day though, it's still that slow burn towards the ending. I can't express enough how perfectly paced this romantic comedy is! I laughed, I cried, I smirked. So many emotions.

There were a few small things about this story that made it fall just shy of a perfect five star rating. Josh's personality, while absolutely necessary to the story, could be a bit grating at certain times. I'm so glad he had Lucy to set him back on the right track. Overall though, I can promise you that this book is the whole package. The Hating Game is a ton of fun to read! It's well worth a spot on your reading list.


The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

It's been a while since I've read a more contemporary romance, and this book is scratching an itch that I didn't know I had. Whew. You could cut the sexual tension here with a knife, and I'm LOVING it.


Current feelings:

Wake The Hollow by Gaby Triana

Wake the Hollow - Gaby Triana

It should be known, first and foremost, that I'm a sucker for anything related to Sleepy Hollow. I grew up addicted to the wonderfully chilling story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. So it's no surprise that when Gaby Triana's book made its way onto my radar, I snatched it up without hesitation. Sleepy Hollow is steeped in such rich lore. I had high hopes that Triana would put her own spin on it. Spoiler alert: I was right.


First off, I loved that this book wasn't simply a retelling of the same story. While it definitely borrows some of the atmosphere and the tension, Micaela's experiences are on a level all their own. I could feel the anxiety on the page from the moment that Mica stepped foot into her childhood home. True to its roots, the Sleepy Hollow here has this overall aura of the supernatural. Things that might have felt odd anywhere else, feel completely normal. Triana had no problem convincing me that Mica's life was destined to be special, and I was definitely on board.


As events unfolded, this brilliant sense of doubt started to overcome me. Mica didn't know who to trust, and to be honest neither did I. Which was so wonderful. There are plenty of times where I've figured out an ending well before it comes to fruition. In this case, I was ecstatic about the fact that I had no idea where things were going. Mica was rushing pell-mell into the unknown, and all I could do was hold on tight. The paranormal part of this, mixed in with the expertly woven mystery, created a book that I just couldn't put down. I was so terribly annoyed every time I was interrupted while reading this. You could have cut the tension with a knife.


Now, I admit that the ending left me a little cold. I'm not sure how I wanted this to end, and it's possible that I was just too invested to ever really be happy with whatever happened, but it didn't vibe for me. The good news is that this barely registered on my overall scale for this book. Wake The Hollow had me so swept up, that I wasn't really bothered. I was more upset that it had come to an end.

Book Blogger Tag!


Since Grim was kind enough to tag me in this, and I loved reading Troy's answers as well, I figured I'd give this a shot! It's a quiet day at work, blessedly. I'm taking that as a sign from the universe that this blogger tag is a must.


How long have you been a blogger?


I've been blogging since 2010. I stumbled upon a Penguin Pirate Reads and was amazed that there was such a thing as a book blog. You mean, people will LISTEN to what I have to say about books? I made a site, started the madness, and the rest is history. I've been book blogging ever since.
At what point do you think you'll stop?


Likely never, to be honest. I always find time for this, even if I lag a bit at certain times. It's my outlet, and my zen time. I actually love writing reviews. 
What's the best thing?


Definitely the fact that there's so much amazing interaction in the book blog community. I love getting recommendations, sharing character obsessions, and just having someone who understands when you get to the end of a series and want to cry. It's pretty much the best feeling ever to have other people who share your passion.


What's the worst thing?  What do you do to make it ok?

The worst thing about blogging is getting over that hump of "no one EVER reads what I write". It took me a few years to realize that it didn't matter if people commented on my posts or not. It took me even longer than that not to care how many people were "following" me. I do this for me. If other people like it, cool! 


How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?


Ooooh, tough one. It really depends on what I want. Picture of a book and some tea? Easy. Picture of a book and some tea that actually has free commercial use rights? A little harder. I'm a stickler for not posting anything on my blog that might have a copyright I don't have the permission to use. Which is why Pexels is my favorite site ever. Here on BL I don't worry so much though. So it's quick.


Who is your book crush?

Kate Daniels. No other explanation needed.


What author would you like to have on your blog?


Actually I've been blessed to have so many authors on my blog, that I don't think there are any I'm still waiting on! Twitter gives me all the author interaction I need, and that's why I love it so much.


What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

My infinite patience and wit.


How long does it take you to prepare?

To review? No time at all. I just let it all flow onto the page, and then go back and make sure I didn't make any grammar mistakes. I've gotten over writing "structured" reviews. If you want to know how I feel about a book, I'll tell you!


How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

For the most part, I totally love it! There are a few bad eggs here and there, but that's true of any community.


What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?


Write. Write what you want to write. Ignore everyone else and just be you. There's no magic formula that makes a blog successful. Plus, if you really love blogging, it shouldn't matter whether your blog is successful or not. Success means different things to different people. If my book review puts a book on someone's radar, I consider that a win.



So I guess I'm supposed to tag people? Well, I'm lazy. So I tag EVERYONE. If you haven't done this, do it. DO IT NOW. 


And Darkness Waits: When Fear Descends Into Madness by C.K. Post

And Darkness Waits: When Fear Descends into Madness - C.K. Post

It's going to be a bit difficult to fully review And Darkness Waits: When Fear Descends Into Madness without spoilers, so please pardon the following vague review. This is the type of story that is best experienced by going into with as little information as possible. Most good thrillers are.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it features an unreliable narrator. It quickly becomes apparent that Jeffrey isn't entirely certain about this own mental state. Post plays off that well, creating a slow descent into a place where nothing is quite what it seems. Little snippets of a childhood that was forgotten float to the surface, and show themselves in unexpected ways. I admit, I felt a lot of empathy for for Jeffrey. Uncovering the darkest parts of yourself is a terrifying process, but even more so when those parts end up being much deeper and darker than you expected.

What didn't quite vibe for me was the lack of tension that was built up. The story itself was solid, and there was a lot of great potential for some very tense and terrifying scenes. Maybe it's because I read a lot of thrillers and horror, but the intensity of these scenes just didn't manifest for me. There would be that moment of knowing that someone was about to die, it would happen, and then the story would move forward. It didn't seem like the characters felt too concerned for their own well-being, despite their comrades dropping like flies. As the story neared its ending, I slightly understood why. Still, it would have been fitting to have a little more dread built into this story. Jeffrey might have felt it, but it didn't translate into my reading experience.

As for the ending, I'll admit that I figured out that it was coming before it happened. I didn't mind so much, because it was stil a nice touch. My one real qualm was that the ending of this book wasn't quite the resolution that I was hoping for. I was still waiting for some of my questions to be answered.

Overall though, And Darkness Waits: When Fear Descends Into Madness is a solid way to spend a few hours. It's a quick read, that has a good amount of twists and turns, without giving too much away all at once.

Kings or Pawns (The Kings Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber

Welcome to the elven world of Sevrigel. A world that is as beautiful as it is corrupt. The elven city of Elvorium has become so corrupted by the politicians who rule it, that it seems to most that there is no coming back. Until, that is, Prince Hairem ascends the throne. While J.J. Sherwood's Kings or Pawns is definitely Epic Fantasy, it's also filled with all manner of political intrigue and moral discussions. If you're looking for a book that is as deep as it is descriptive, look no further. This is your next read.

Now I feel it only fair to warn potential readers that this is definitely first and foremost a political thriller. The inner workings of the elven council play a huge role in this story, going so far as to discuss the actual battle plans that are being arranged. Everything is described in perfect detail. Which means, happily, that this book works equally well for readers of both genres. Trust me when I say that Sherwood doesn't skimp on the world building at all. Kings or Pawns is vividly written, with settings that pop off of the page. So Epic Fantasy readers will be content, and those who love political intrigue will also be content. It's truly a win/win situation.
The characters will probably steal your heart either way. While there are multiple POVs present in this story, Jikun and Hairem get the lion's share of the spotlight. Not that I'm complaining, as both of them were wonderful characters. Jikun is extremely brave, loyal to a fault, and full of the kind of opinions that make him blasphemous to some and level headed to others. I loved his character. His bantering with Nevon was giggle worthy, but then in the next chapter he'd be placed in a situation that made his valiant nature shine through. The fact that he was so three dimensional, faults and all, made him easy to follow along with. Hairem is much the same. Being of noble blood, and tasked to lead his people, his character was even more faceted. Hairem is intelligent and kind, but not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. The fact that Sherwood didn't let up on him, but instead had many other character agendas coming at him from all sides. It made him a much more vivid character, and I was proud to follow him through this adventure.
As for plot, well that would take ages and many more paragraphs than I have the energy to write to fully gush over. The fact that there is so much of a political spin to this book is perfection, because the fantasy portion of it slides right beneath it, skimming right under the surface. Before you know it there are dragons, mythical beasts to slay, and even magic. Yet because of the beautifully articulated world of Sevrigel, and how structured the lives of the elves are, it feels like it has one foot in reality. I've read plenty of books with massive maps, and large character rosters. It takes a really good writer to make that palatable on such a huge scale, and J.J. Sherwood manages just that.
There were a few things I would have loved to see more of, mainly our female characters who are amazing but don't get too much face time. Ilsafel especially is a character that I'd love to see more of. Any female character who is as versed in politics, and as intelligent, as her male counterpart makes me smile. I also felt like the ending fell a tiny bit shy of the epic conclusion I was hoping for. That's a mild complaint though, because all this build up is pushing towards the second book and I can't wait. 


August 2016 TBR

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber Forever We Play - David Belisle And Darkness Waits: When Fear Descends into Madness - C.K. Post Wake the Hollow - Gaby Triana The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally E. Thorne GENESIS - Matt K. Turner VIP: Battle of the Bands - Jen Calonita New Megiddo Rising: An 'Apostates' Novella - Lars Teeney Under a Million Stars - Rita Branches Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

So, last month was pretty slow on the reading front. I powered through a few books, but didn't really get a chance to savor them. It was more reading to review, and I kind of hate that to be honest. I'm pretty excited now that Luna is on a schedule, because I know I'll be able to fit in more reading time. Which is a good thing, because I once again have a pretty busy month scheduled. Ah, best laid plans. Little did I know I'd have a puppy to watch over.


I'm pretty excited about a lot of these books though! Natchez Burning is HUGE, and I agreed to read all three books that are in/soon to be in this series. So... there's that. Let's hope they're good.